I Won’t Be a Technology Puppet

Learning to truly unplug and recharge.

Create a Practice of Non Negotiable Self Care.

One thing I know is true for me: Getting enough sleep consistently is the foundation for better performance and feeling bright. Foregoing sleep does not equate to increased productivity.

The evening after watching the story CBS 60 Minutes with Tristan Harris delivered Sunday, April 9, 2017, I fell to phone addiction. I broke my own rules, loosely held as they were. It wasn’t the first time I knew my brain had been hacked; creating chemical release causing behavior favorable to device, apps and social media companies. I’ve sensed a pull to check a notification when I am in the middle of something else or sitting at a stop light. Nothing was pressing other than a mental tug in the direction of the app or device.

Monday following the CBS story, I found myself more tired than usual, already half an hour later getting under the covers than I wanted to. Thirty minutes doesn’t sound like a big delay, but I try to be disciplined because I know my sleep is a productivity factor for me each day. I had been doing something I enjoyed, so I ignored the time. I also let slip some ‘device exposure’ that I know isn’t conducive to sleep. I found myself knowing I shouldn’t peek in, but I did it despite my inner gut guidance. I am usually super sensitive about getting away from devices well before bedtime to soundly and quickly doze off to a good night sleep. Lately I’ve found myself peeking in closer to bedtime. I recently felt self-punished by listening to a podcast for a class I am taking, a self care class in fact, while in bed and then I couldn’t sleep. Awe the irony of it all!

I would love to be the person who immerses their self in her lap top in the evening to churn on some great productive writing time. I’m not a big TV watcher so writing should be perfect. It never fails that when I do this, or make a mental excuse (probably my brain is being hacked by the social media and device giants) to peek in on an app or surf on some engaging topic I get caught in the snare and am wide eyed although tired as heck come bedtime. I have no excuses for my slip because I know better. Corrected, my excuse is that my brain is being hacked!

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Monday night, I get into bed albeit a little late, grateful for my wonderful bed and surroundings, with so much privacy and creature comforts. I relish the feeling of the sheets and soft covers. I adore my favorite pillow. I forego my practice of journaling or winding down with a book because I am feeling so tired and ready to ‘hit the hay’. But wait a minute and another minute and more minutes….an hour and longer passes. I am tired. I am also wired. My body craves sleep. My body is practically begging for sleep. But my mind, my mind is on. And it is choosing to think about a couple of ‘life experiences’ during the day that were annoying. I hadn’t thought of these since they occurred many hours earlier. But now they are right in my face and replaying over and over in my mind. Cortisol and dopamine are dancing, swirling and arguing with each other, keeping me from restful rejuvenating sleep.

Crap. I realize I did this. I had my face in my device (actually two devices) just before bed. I am aware and self admitting, wishing a self apology would make a difference… I knew I was peeking in on a message that I didn’t need or care about and looking up something completely unnecessary on the other device. I just wanted to see if it was there I told myself. I feel my brain has been hacked by the product engineers who are given orders by people of great wealth and power, of these apps, social media and devices. I am too smart and too sensitive for this. I refuse to let my brain be hacked. I am too strong to let this happen to me. But I did let it happen. I knew better. I know me. I know what they are up to!

I resolve to make technology work for me. Life is too short to be hijacked by technology. I will not be a technology puppet.

Originally published at medium.com

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